The path of the two tornados were quite close, some damage certainly can be confusing about which one should it belong to. The damage of Eustace EF4 tornado, to some extent, was overshadowed by Canton EF3 tornado. I can only find one aerial damage shot was from the EF4 tornado for sure and it was right before the tornado made the 180mph EF4 dmaage.Ok, I couldn't remember.
Ah, good eye. It is certainly a doctored image of the Terrible Tuesday tornado. I kinda figured that I hadn't unearthed the holy grail of historic tornado images. That would truly be an incredible find if a legit image ever were to surface.
The rapid forward speed of the thing (up to 73 mph) at times would also have made photography difficult. In terms of physical appearances Hackleburg is by far our closest modern example to what Tri-State may have been like in size, intensity, and appearance. Especially in this video below:Given the rarity of personal cameras in the 1920s and the fact that the Tri-State Tornado mostly hit smaller towns and rural farms, I kind of doubt any photos were taken of it. Especially given that the descriptions of it make it sound like it was a very low LCL storm and it may have been rain-wrapped or hard to see for much of its lifespan. This is roughly the time period I work on as a historian (although not on the US), so I have plenty of experience not being able to find pictures of things from that era...
Here's another pic of Topeka damage, this is from some neighborhoods near I-470.Oh yeah, LCL's by all accounts were very low that day and the environment in N AL on 4/27, above the thermal boundary that had settled across the area, was probably pretty similar. Very low T-Td spreads. If any photo exists, I'd think it would come from the Murphysboro or West Frankfurt area, those being the largest towns in the direct path of the tornado. Unlikely though.
Moving on, here's a pretty spectacular color photograph of the 1966 Topeka tornado
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And some interesting pictures from some of the worst-affected areas
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I suspect some cleanup had occurred prior to this photograph being taken
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Impressive tree damage outside of town
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Likely a case where the tornado was strongest outside of town to the west and gradually weakened as it moved through the city. The aerial photographs show damage was strongest on the west side of Topeka, immediately after it crested Burnett's mound, which is visible in the background of the third picture. Similar to Chandler, MN before the 1992 tornado, some residents of Topeka believed that Burnett's mound would disrupt any tornado approaching the town from the SW. Obviously, no such thing occurred in both cases. Perhaps this lends some anecdotal credence to the idea that tornadoes are prone to weakening on the upslope of a hill and strengthening on the downslope. I believe a UAH study conducted after 04/27(possibly already posted in this thread?) was the first to promote that theory or at least the first to flesh it out with observations on the ground/modern technology.
Well, it was certainly more intense than the Belmond, IA F5 later that year. The very flimsy basis for the F5 rating was a small, unanchored frame home that was "swept away" on the outskirts of town, next to similar homes that sustained F0-F1 damage. It had actually produced legit violent damage(minimal F4 according to Grazulis) further west in the city of Belmond and was pretty clearly weakening as it encountered the subdivision where the F5 damage was recorded. There was an aerial photo of the home/surrounding area on the old thread, lifted from Significant Tornadoes I think, that really emphasized the absurdity of the rating. I'd love to see it again if anyone has it saved.Here's another pic of Topeka damage, this is from some neighborhoods near I-470.
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Honestly, I thought Topeka was overrated in terms of intensity, but it looks like it deserved the F5 rating it got at the time. But yeah, I agree it achieved peak intensity very briefly and was weakening as going through town, given that it lifted almost immediately after it exited the Topeka city limits.
Oh and here was the study involving terrain and tornadoes: https://ams.confex.com/ams/27SLS/webprogram/Paper255844.html
It involves observation of four violent tornadoes on 4/27 that encountered the Sand Mountain formation in Alabama.
It seems like they were incredibly lenient with what constituted F5 damage back then, especially the 60 and 70s. I've seen damage photographs from quite a few tornadoes from those decades and some, like Belmond or Lubbock, TX I can't find any picture that fully justifies the F5 ratings at all. Fujita made a bunch of questionable ratings, really. At least it seems like that.Yeah I’d say Topeka 1966 deserves its F5 rating based on what I have read about it, in combination with the damage photos. I’d say most of the houses sustained F4 damage, but the few that had their subflooring ripped off and were left with their basements exposed, yeah I’d call that marginal F5 if there were anchor bolts present (I’m fairly sure there were). It also produced pretty extensive grass scouring from what I’ve heard.
Also agreed on Belmond. No way that was an F5.
Why would NWS/SPC keep the F5 rating for the Belmond, IA tornado and completely ignore tornadoes such as Worcester, MA and several of the April 11, 1965 tornadoes? I guess it is just human nature to be inconsistent.It seems like they were incredibly lenient with what constituted F5 damage back then, especially the 60 and 70s. I've seen damage photographs from quite a few tornadoes from those decades and some, like Belmond or Lubbock, TX I can't find any picture that fully justifies the F5 ratings at all. Fujita made a bunch of questionable ratings, really. At least it seems like that.
Both Dunlap/Elkhart tornadoes, Coldwater, Strongsville, and Toledo would all be F5s under some of the, ah, more liberal standards used in cases like Belmond.
The most violent Carolina tornado outbreaks are from 1884 and 1984, respectively, but this Bertie, County deal seems to give them a run for their money.The Bertie County EF3(04/16/2011) left behind probably the most intense tree damage I've ever seen in NC. The vehicles left behind on the property originated from another home across the street. Properties in this area tend to be spaced pretty far apart so these vehicles were likely lofted a considerable distance. These photos are from the Colerain, NC by zip code, but in reality were taken between Askewville and Colerain.
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Some more tree damage from the same general area
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The tornado itself:
An excellent writeup from NC State on the day overall:
It didn't encounter anything well constructed enough to warrant and EF4 rating, but the contextual damage and high death toll in a small area(6 to 8 miles between Askewville and Colerain) with low population density leads me to believe that it was one of the more violent tornadoes in North Carolina history. It's also pretty difficult to pin down where the tornado was strongest. From what I've gleaned from local news reports and some stories from a few locals, there was a few mile stretch in the Colerain zip where several poorly anchored brick(at least brick veneer) homes were completely obliterated and scattered long distances into adjacent wooded areas.The photos above represent some of the damage in that area.
As an aside, that day was the only time I've ever been legitimately terrified of the weather here. That day had a totally different feel than the couple of moderate risk days between then and now.